When the cause of a perinatal death is unclear, the value of perinatal or infant autopsy and pathological examination of the placenta should be discussed with the infant’s parents.
The Victorian Perinatal Autopsy Service (VPAS) is fully funded for parents who need it.
Services for Victorian families are coordinated at an agreed rate by the lead agency at one of the three specialist perinatal pathology services at The Royal Women’s Hospital (the Women’s), Monash Health and Mercy Hospital for Women, and their associated pathology departments at the Austin and the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The information found through autopsy assists CCOPMM to provide expert advice on maternal and perinatal outcomes.
The placenta should be sent for pathological examination in all cases of fetal death, and where possible for all early neonatal deaths.
Cultures should be taken from the fetal surface of the placenta in cases of actual or suspected infection.
The placenta should also be sent for pathological examination in any of the following circumstances:
- neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy
- small for gestational age
- pre-term delivery under 34 weeks
- antepartum haemorrhage
- suspected chorioamnionitis
- macroscopic placental abnormalities.
Page last updated: 10 Apr 2018